Every issue, IN presents INside Authors, a look at authors from around the world who have significantly caught our attention and deserve a little space and recognition. The following two authors are this month's choices, based on the heat arising from their corners. Our hope is to provide a glimpse, a snapshot, an overview of some of the finest writers of our time making waves both tidal and ripple.
Wanda Dailey, Poet and Novelist
Background INfo: Let's see, if I remember correctly, my mother said I was writing before I could talk. She said I would scribble on paper, then jibber jabber explaining to her what the scribbling meant. I've been writing since elementary school and won awards as well while still in elementary school. I just always have been a writer; it's inbred in me, plan and simple. I have written poetry and short stories, and seven years ago, I wrote my first novel. I started reading and writing very early as a form of escape from the everyday "ho hum" of being the oldest of eight children.
INfluences: My father, who wrote songs and short stories. My mother, who wrote poetry. She gave me a great faith in people, life, and an overall appreciation for everything that comes into my life. Emily Dickinson for her poetry. I love her works, she touches my heart.
Advice: Write, write, write! Write every day. Writer to your fullest. Writing is a form of self expression. Express yourself! Writers will always have good days and bad days, but do not let this discourage you. Just write. You never know who may read what you have written.
Internet: I am currently working on www.WandaDailey.com. Should be up within 30 days. My novel, Enduring Love, can be ordered online at Barnes&Noble.com, Amazon.com, SpecialDeliveryBooks.com, BooksAMillion.com, and many more websites including some overseas.
Future: I am currently promoting my novel, Enduring Love. I'm also working on my children's series, a book of my poetry, and a second novel.
Dark Side Of The Moon – National Library of Poetry, 1994
Enduring Love – SpecialDeliveryBooks.com, 2006
Joan Upton Hall, Fiction, Nonfiction, Freelance Editor, Speaker
Background INfo: My first Big Chief tablet and a pencil clutched in my preschool fingers set me on the writer's path. I drew pictures and scribbled pages of squiggly lines, and if anyone asked me, I was more than happy to "read" the stories I thought I had written. Fortunately, after I learned to write, people seemed interested, so I've been creating books, articles, and stories ever since. I went on to be a wife, mother, and English teacher, while collecting experiences and reading everything I could. I have lived in Texas all my life with brief excursions to other places. Writing time was limited, but I managed to write a historical novel on a manual typewriter while my three children were still in school. Also, I edited and cartooned a professional newsletter that won state and national awards. In 1992, I retire to write full time, and I love it!
INfluences: The biggest influence on my two careers, teaching English and writing, has been my family, beginning with a father who was a voracious reader and passed it on to me. The earliest writer I tried to emulate was Edgar Rice Burroughs, later moving on to other: Asimov to Zimmer-Bradley. The ones I learned the most technique by studying were John Steinbeck, William Shakespeare, and Dean Koontz. Since then, teaching literature to students motivated me to read, analyze, and appreciate the work of a diverse array of authors. Teaching writing helped me to discover which techniques work and to carry those principles over to my own writing.
Advice: The world is full of wannabe writers, but it's not an easy life. Try to quit writing if you can. If you can't quit without having withdrawal symptoms, embrace the desire with all your heart. Make time for writing, do it regularly in whatever pattern and schedule that works for you. Let your creativity run free without worrying about spelling, punctuation, and grammar, or what your Aunt Mable might think. Only after you finish your project, should you start editing and correcting. Polish it the best you can and ask someone who knows what they are doing to critique for you. (Sorry, but "My mom loves it," isn't reliable.) After considering the critique, polish again. Then don't leave the manuscript sitting in a drawer. Start submitting it for publication, and don't give up. While waiting for answers, instead of idly biting your nails, begin your next project!
Internet Presence: Use of the Internet for research is well known, and new users for promotion, such as blogging, are constantly being invented. But for a little-known writer, perhaps the most important way to level the playing field is with a website. Though some are good at creating a do-it-yourself site, hiring an expert webmaster was for me. She not only furnishes professional appearance and accessibility, but also allows me time to write. Be sure to include your URL on your business cards and pass them out generously. That card in the pocket of an editor, conference director, or customer is like your portfolio on steroids. People can find your books and/or services in color and with samples. Since your name is your trademark, name the site what you want people to remember, such as www.JoanUptonHall.com.
The Future: With a recently launched national nonfiction anthology that I edited for Atriad Press (January, 2007) and a Texas nonfiction book, written for State House Press of McMurry University, due for release in the spring, I'll be quite busy with promotion. On the fiction side, I'm completing Book 3 of my urban fantasy trilogy, Excalibur Regained, this year, while waiting for the release of Book 2. I have other novels in the genre knocking around in my skull too. I contribute four monthly columns, two of which are self-syndicated in writers' publications, a president's column for a local writers' group, and a travel article for the county newspaper.
Grand Old Texas Theaters That Won't Quit – Republic of Texas Press, 2002
Rx For Your Writing Ills – Park Imprint of WordWright.biz, 2003
50 Writers' Tips – Self-published, 2004
Arturo El Rey – Zumaya Publications, 2005
Ghostly Tales From America's Jails – Atriad Press, 2007
Just Visitin' Old Texas Jails – State House Press, 2007
Penelope Jensen considers herself a citizen of the world, aligning herself at this moment with the purposes of IN, where you'll find her writing articles and interviewing authors, among other things. You can reach Penny at: PenJen@inorbit.com.
Steve Neubauer is a co-founder of the publishing firm WordWright.biz, Inc. The company serves as an incubator for new authors and works with professional speakers and consultants to create books about their specialty areas. Steve focuses on helping new writers establish themselves and fulfill their publication dreams. http://www.wordwright.biz/index.html